The South Bay Rebels travel baseball team captured the United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) Martin Luther King Tournament Championship over this past Martin Luther King holiday weekend.
The team, comprised of players 14 years old and younger, primarily from Westchester, Playa del Rey and Torrance, finished pool play with two wins and one tie.
The Rebels defeated the Huntington Beach Breakers 11-2, tied the Solano Stingrays 3-3 and defeated the Canyon Country Icemen 11-3 in tournament pool play, Rebels coach Jim Hebda said.
Of 12 teams in the Martin Luther King Tournament, the Rebels were seeded second and received a first-round playoff bye.
On Monday, January 16th, in windy Riverside, Hebda said the Rebels “came out firing” and defeated the Solano Stingrays 16-1 in three innings.
The victory put the Rebels in the tournament championship game against the previously undefeated Temecula Longhorns.
After three innings Temecula held a 3-1 lead, but the Rebels fought back with one run in the fourth inning and two runs in the fifth inning to take a 4-3 lead.
Temecula then tied the game in the sixth inning, which set up a final burst by the Rebels in the bottom of the seventh inning to win the game and the championship by a final score of 5-4.
With the tournament championship, the South Bay Rebels jumped into the number-two spot of 78 ranked teams by USSSA in Southern California, Hebda said.
More impressively, the Rebels found themselves ranked fourth out of 483 USSSA teams in the entire country, the Rebels coach said.
Rebels team players include Ronnie Aros, Lawrence Bush, Jeffrey Dorado, Tyler Hebda, Chris Jacobs, Christian Koppenhaver, Blake Leamy, Eddie McLaughlin, Josh Mingura, Justice Peru, Kyle Thomas and Tanner Webb.
The team is coached by Peter Peru, Jim Hebda and Will Thomas.